Jun 21, 2023 | Marine fuel & lubricant news

A.P. Moller-Maersk (Maersk) is to retrofit an existing ship to a dual-fuel methanol powered vessel, believed to be the first such conversion in the industry capable of sailing using green methanol.

The engine retrofit is scheduled to be conducted in mid-2024, and it is the intention to replicate the conversion on sister vessels during their special surveys in 2027. Maersk has signed an agreement with MAN Energy Solutions (MAN ES) for retrofitting the engine.

Leonardo Sonzio, Head of Fleet Management and Technology, Maersk, said: “We have set an ambitious net-zero emissions target for 2040 across the entire business and have taken a leading role in decarbonising logistics. Retrofitting of engines to run on methanol is an important lever in our strategy. With this initiative, we wish to pave the way for future scalable retrofit programs in the industry and thereby accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to green fuels. Ultimately, we want to demonstrate that methanol retrofits can be a viable alternative to newbuildings. In 2021, we ordered the world’s first methanol-enabled container vessel following a commitment to the principle of only ordering newbuilt vessels that can sail on green fuels. Concurrently, we have explored the potential in retrofitting existing vessels with dual-fuel methanol engines. Having teamed up with MAN ES, we are now ready to demonstrate how retrofitting vessels with methanol dual-fuel capabilities can be done.”

Besides aiming to achieve net-zero in 2040, Maersk has set tangible near-term targets for 2030 to ensure alignment with the Paris Agreement and Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) methodology. This translates to a 50% reduction in emissions per transported container in the Maersk Ocean fleet compared to 2020, and furthermore 25% of its container volume will by 2030 be transported using green fuels.

Replacing engine parts and thereby making the engine able to operate on methanol is considered a complex task, but only part of the larger retrofit operation. For instance, new fuel tanks, fuel preparation room and fuel supply system are also part of the retrofit for green methanol.

Ole Graa Jakobsen, Head of Fleet Technology, responsible for the retrofit project at Maersk said: “Detailed engineering for the first retrofit is ongoing and the actual implementation will take place in the middle of 2024. Meanwhile, discussions with potential yards are ongoing.”

Maersk currently operates more than 700 vessels, of which around 300 are owned by Maersk.

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